Adam Greenberg is ready, willing and able to start playing professional baseball again, if given a chance, a second chance that is.
After seven years away from the Major Leagues Greenberg, 31, may have that once in a lifetime opportunity to get back to home plate and he is confident he has what it takes to be successful.
Greenberg got his chance in the Major Leagues following his junior year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs and signed on to start his professional career. His Cubs career was shortlived.
“Greenberg is the only player in Major League Baseball (MLB) history who had his career end on the very first pitch he faced,” says a change.org press release. ”Batting in the ninth inning in a nationally televised game against the Florida Marlins in 2005, Greenberg was hit in the back of the head by a 92 mile-per-hour fastball. The incident forced Greenberg out of the game immediately, causing a concussion that had lasting side effects for years.”
Through change.org, Cubs fan, Matt Liston, started a petition to urge the Cubs to call Greenberg back. “We are asking Chicago Cubs owner, Tom Ricketts, to give Adam Greenberg an at bat during the final series of the Cubs 2012 season,” writes Liston. To date, over 20,000 people have signed the petition, www.change.org/oneatbat, and the numbers are climbing.
Although Liston appears to be pushing to give the former Cubs outfielder an “official at bat in the major leagues,” Greenberg believes, if given this chance, he can prove he is worthy of joining the Major Leagues again.
Since the game that changed his career, on July 9, 2005, Greenberg has retold the story so many times that it feels like he is telling a story from a book he has authored. Most of the time he is unemotional about the event, until he is in front of a crowd or thinking about what could have been.
“I get choked up at times,” said Greenberg. “When I’m in an audience and I hear a gasp it gets personal because they’re gasping because it was traumatic. Then I realize that was me, that is me and I’m here talking about that.
“The only other time that it gets me choked up is when it’s, like, that opportunity was taken from me,” he continues. “I didn’t get a chance to perform there, that was it, and that’s not how I wanted to be remembered, certainly.”
Since that fateful day back in 2005 Greenberg has been playing in the Minor Leagues, including a stint with the Bridgeport Bluefish. He is also concentrating on building his business, LuRong Living. This partnership sells Velvet Deer Antler, a natural supplement used “to relieve joint and muscle discomfort, rebuild and optimize joint function, improve strength and endurance, boost energy, increase libido, and so much more,” according to their website.
Today, living in Branford with his wife, Lindsay, Greenberg is symptom free and grateful for all the support he is getting on his journey to try and make it back to professional baseball.
Training with his younger brother, Sam, who just graduated from Southern Connecticut State University and is hoping to play professional ball next year, Greenberg is confident he is ready, if given the chance.
“There’s not a doubt in my mind,” said Greenberg. “I know what my abilities are and what I can bring to an organization. Anyone can make excuses and I can go into why the last three years I haven’t hit the greatest and I haven’t done this, and I haven’t been picked up, but I’m not going to do it. What I know is I’m physically in as good a shape as I’ve been in my life.”
Another Greenberg fan is his former coach at Guilford High School, Randy Tyler. “I think he deserves a shot to play, not just one more at bat,” said Tyler. “I would just love to see him up there, whatever it takes.”
Greenberg doesn’t remember a time that he didn’t want to play professional baseball.
“I grew up in Guilford and I was a diehard Yankee fan,” remembers Greenberg. “I watched all the games I could on TV or listened to them on the radio, as often as I could. As soon as I picked up a bat, when I was young and played in some Little League games, I wanted to be a Yankee.”
Tyler said that even back at Guilford High School, working with Greenberg, it was evident that baseball was in his future.
“He was above all the other high school kids,” said Tyler. “His knowledge of the game, his desire was second to none. We could have intelligent baseball conversations. We could talk about the minute stuff that goes along with hitting and he just got it,” added Tyler.
The petition and all the thousands of fans who want him back on the field have invigorated Greenberg with new energy and enthusiasm. He is grateful to Lindsay, his parents, Mark and Wendy, and Sam who still live in Guilford and his older brother, Max, for supporting his baseball dreams. Yet he has a special admiration for Liston, for spearheading the petition.
“In baseball or sports or in any job you always need what’s called a sponsor,” said Greenberg. “You need somebody that believes in you, somebody that sees you for more than what you are or what you can bring to the table.”
Liston has stepped up to the plate to serve as Greenberg’s sponsor, working to get him in back in the game that he loves.
“I’m just truly honored by the fact that he’s doing what he’s doing in trying to get me this opportunity,” said Greenberg.
“That’s really what I look at it as, an opportunity, to show that my hard work and dedication to the game has paid off and I get a chance, hopefully, back on the major league diamond to make this happen.”